Intel Pushes Back Hybrid Wireless Chip

The company's hybrid 802.11a/b chip, originally due to ship in the first half of the year, is now on track for early in the fourth quarter.

Intel Corp. has pushed out shipments of its hybrid 802.11a/b chip until early in the fourth quarter, a spokesman for Intel confirmed Wednesday.

"We are in heavy testing and validation mode on 802.11a/b," said Intel spokesman Dan Francisco in an e-mail. "In working with our customers, we believe that the delivery of the chip will now be in early Q4." The chip was originally slated to ship in the first half of the year.

Although Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel has made its software-configurable "Radio Free Intel" initiative part of its corporate to-do list for the next few years, the company has yet to get its wireless product fully off the ground. To date, Intel has only shipped an 802.11b solution as part of its mobile Centrino platform. That chip contains third-party components, including the radio, from Philips and Symbol.

However, Intel has spent heavily promoting the Centrino platform, sponsoring initiatives like the upcoming "One Unwired Day" and participating in joint Wi-Fi rollouts with Cometa and retailers like McDonalds.

By the end of the year, Intel plans to ship an 802.11b/g part, Francisco said. A hybrid a/b/g product is still scheduled for early in 2004, and that chip will use internally developed Intel wireless silicon, he said.

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